Lavender's Blue

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"Lavender's Blue"
Roud #3483
Written England
Published late 17th century
Form Nursery rhyme
Writer(s) Traditional
Language English

"Lavender's Blue" (sometimes called "Lavender Blue") is an English folk song and nursery rhyme dating to the 17th century. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 3483. It has been recorded in various forms since the 20th century and some pop versions have been hits in the US and UK charts.


Although there are as many as thirty verses to the song, and many variations of each verse, most modern versions take this form:

Lavender's blue, dilly, dilly, lavender's green
When I am king, dilly, dilly, You shall be queen
Who told you so, dilly, dilly, who told you so?
'Twas my own heart, dilly, dilly, that told me so
Call up your men, dilly, dilly, set them to work
Some to the plough, dilly, dilly, some to the fork
Some to make hay, dilly, dilly, some to reap corn
While you and I, dilly, dilly, keep ourselves warm
Lavender's green, dilly, dilly, Lavender's blue
if you love me, dilly, dilly, I will love you.
When I am queen, dilly, dilly, You'll be my king


The earliest surviving version of the song is in a broadside printed in England between 1672 and 1685, under the name Diddle Diddle, Or The Kind Country Lovers. The broadside indicates it is to be sung to the tune "Lavenders Green", implying that a tune by that name was already in existence. The lyrics printed in the broadside are fairly bawdy, celebrating sex and drinking. According to the Traditional Ballad Index, "The singer tells his lady that she must love him because he loves her. He tells of a vale where young man and maid have lain together, and suggests that they might do the same, and that she might love him (and also his dog)." Here is the first of ten verses:

Lavender's green, diddle, diddle,
Lavender's blue
You must love me, diddle, diddle,
cause I love you,
I heard one say, diddle, diddle,
since I came hither,
That you and I, diddle, diddle,
must lie together.[1]

It emerged as a children's song in Songs for the Nursery in 1805 in the form:

Lavender blue and Rosemary green,
When I am king you shall be queen;
Call up my maids at four o'clock,
Some to the wheel and some to the rock;
Some to make hay and some to shear corn,
And you and I will keep the bed warm.[1]

Similar versions appeared in collections of rhymes throughout the 19th century.[1]

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ a b c I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), pp. 265–7.
  2. ^ The New Yorker, January 16, 1960, p. 29
  3. ^ The Ghost & Mrs. Muir at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ "Marillion: Misplaced Childhood". Dutch Progressive Rock Page. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  5. ^ David Roberts British Hit Singles and Albums, Guinness World Records Limited
  6. ^
  7. ^